Today you will review The Metamorphosis up through paragraph 45, annotating the text and taking specific notes about the two characters Grete and Mr. Samsa (Gregor’s father). Using specific support from the text write a one to two paragraph analysis of each character. Your assignment needs to be submitted through TurnitIn by the start of your class period tomorrow.
The following information will help focus your pre-writing for this assignment. Remember to use all five steps of the writing process, pre-writing , drafting, revising, editing, prior to publishing your assignment to Turnitin.
A strong character analysis will:
- identify the type of character it is dealing with. (A single character could be two or three types. See “There are different types of characters” below.)
- describe the character (what is the character like? This can be physical characteristics or how they think or feel)
- discuss the conflict in the story, particularly in regards to the character’s place in it. (What is the character struggling with? And what does that tell you about the character?)
Your analysis must include all three of these parts to receive full credit.
There are different kinds of characters.
Characters can be
- protagonists (heroes),The main character around whom most of the work revolves.
- antagonists,The person who the protagonist is against. This is often the villain, but could be a force of nature, set of circumstances, an animal, etc.
- major, These are the main characters. They dominate the story. Often there are only one or two major characters.
- minor, These are the characters who help tell the major character’s tale by letting major characters interact and reveal their personalities, situations, stories. They are usually static (unchanging).
- dynamic (changing), See below under “Look at specific things.”
- stereotypical(stock), This is the absent minded professor, the jolly fat person, the clueless blonde.
- foils, These are the people whose job is to contrast with the major character. Â This can happen in two ways. Â One: The foil can be the opposite of the major character, so the major’s virtues and strengths are that much “brighter” in reflection. Â Two: The foil can be someone like the major character, with lite versions of the major’s virtues and strengths so that the major comes off as even stronger.
- round (3 dimensional), This means the character has more than one facet to their personality. They are not just a hardcore gamer, but they also play basketball on the weekends.
- flat (1 dimensional), This is the character who is only viewed through one side. This is the hardcore gamer. That’s all there is to the character.
To describe the character:
Consider the character’s name and appearance.
- Is the author taking advantage of stereotypes? The hot-tempered redhead, the boring brunette, the playboy fraternity guy.
- Is the author going against stereotypes? The brilliant blonde, the socially adept professor, the rich but lazy immigrant.
- Is the author repeating a description of the character? If so, then it is important. For example, Kathy inÂ East of EdenÂ is described as rodent-like and snake-like, “sharp little teeth” and a “flickering tongue.”
- Is their name significant? Is it a word that means something, like Honor or Hero? Does it come from a particular place or time and make reference to that? Scarlett, Beowulf.
- Appearance and visual attributes are usually far less important than other factors, unless their appearance is the pointâ€“Â such as inÂ The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Clothing also rarely matters, except to make him/her easier to visualize.
Consider if he/she a static (unchanging) or dynamic (changing) character. If the character has changed during the course of the story:
- Was the change gradual or rapid?
- Was it subtle or obvious?
- Are the changes significant to the story or are they a minor counterpoint?
- Are the changes believable or fantastic?
- What was his/her motivation to change?
- What situations or characters encouraged the change?
- How does the character learn from or deal with the change?
Consider how the author discloses the character:
- By what the character says or thinks.
- By what the character does.
- By what other characters say about him/her.
- By what the author says about him/her.
- The short form for this is STAR (says, thinks, acts, reacts).
Look for these things within the creation of the character:
- Do these characteristics aid in the character being consistent (in character), believable, adequately motivated, and interesting?
- Do the characteristics of the character emphasize and focus on the character’s role in the story’s plot?
- Is the character ethical? Is he/she trying to do the right thing, but going about it in the wrong way?
- Â Is the motivation because of emotion (love, hate) or a decision (revenge, promotion)?
- Does the character act in a certain way consistently?
- Or is the character erratic?
- Could one pluck the character from the story, put them in another story, and know how they would react?
- With other characters in the story
- How others see/react to him/her
- Typical tragic weakness is pride. Â Oedipus is proud.
- Weakness could be anything. Â In “Little Red Riding Hood,” the girl talks to a stranger. Â That’s a weakness.
- There are many different strengths and virtues.
- One strength/virtue is being good in trying times, like Cinderella.
- Another strength/virtue is caring for family, like Little Red Riding Hood.
- Another strength/virtue is being smart, like Oedipus.
- Most protagonists have more than one strength/virtue.
- Often a character will agonize over right and wrong.
- If a character doesn’t agonize and chooses one or the other easily, that is also significant.
- Does the story revolve around this characterâ€™s actions?
- If so, is the character the hero (protagonist) or villain (antagonist)?
- Personalities are more likely to be simple in children’s stories, fairy tales, and short stories.
- Personalities are more likely to be complex in longer works.
- Even in short works, such as “The Story of an Hour,” the character’s personality can be complex. Â Then it depends on what the author was focusing on.
history and background
- Sometimes a character analysis looks at the history of the individual character. Â Was that person mistreated? abused? well-loved? liked?
- Sometimes the history of the work matters more. Â Is the story set in World War II? Â In ancient Greece? Â That makes a difference because culture changes stories. Â If you don’t know the culture, though, you may not be able to comment on this.
similarities and differences between the characters
- This could be the foil aspect again.
- It could be looking at how characters complement each other.
- It could be looking at why characters would be antagonistic.
character’s function in story
- Is the character an integral character? Â (Cinderella)
- Is the character a minor character? (The wicked stepmother in “Cinderella”)
- Is the character someone who could have been left out or is gratuitous? (The second wicked stepsister in “Cinderella.”)
Remember that you will have a test over the first 45 paragraphs of The Metamorphosis on Friday, and that you will be allowed to use the notes you have taken in your Reading Log while taking the test. Make sure you are including detailed notes about all three characters, Gregor, Grete, and Mr.Samsa.
Also, don’t forget to be working on the grammar lesson on parallel structure.